Not long ago, we posted a host of mockups by designers of the ideal Google phone or "gPhone." This week, our hopes for a gPhone were quashed (for now) as the company instead announced Android, Google's open-sourced, ad-supported, Linux-based operating system for cell phones. Google also announced what it calls the Open Handset Alliance, a consortia with 33 other major technology companies whose goal is to "accelerate innovation in mobile and offer consumers a richer, less expensive, and better mobile experience." Basically, they've committed to develop applications for Android and committed to making it successful.
Though some hailed Android and the Alliance for trying to make cell phone applications less restrictive, many doubted whether they would succeed. Since Android is open source, could develop open and user-friendly phones, or they could tweak the software to be as restrictive as the OS of the easily-bricked iPhone but with advertisements. Views from around the web after the jump.
Windows: Why is everyone paying so much attention to this dumb press release?
"Their efforts are just some words on paper right now, it's hard to do a very clear comparison [with Windows Mobile]" , CEO of Microsoft, to PC World
We'd like change, but aren't holding our breath
"In recent years there have been many grand alliances in the mobile-phone industry. These have often been formed in order to neutralize a market leader, but as often as not have failed to achieve anything… The heavyweights— Nokia, Vodafone, AT&T, Verizon Wireless, not to mention Apple and Microsoft— are conspicuous by their absence." , The Economist
Consortia and open alliances are for losers
"Whenever you see companies start talking about being "open," it means they're getting their ass kicked. You think Google will be forming an OpenSearch alliance any time soon, to help also-rans in search get a share of the spoils? Me neither." (of Forbes),FSJ Blog
Google, this is crazy. Make your own damn phone
"People don't want FEATURES … what they actually want is ease-of-use… Ditch those other 33 companies, put 20 of your smartest people on it, and you stand a fighting chance." on his eponymous blog
"We're extremely excited for what Google intends to do for the mobile industry. From where we sit, assuming it can deliver (and really, when doesn't Google deliver?), everyone seems to benefit from openness and standards: handset manufacturers, carriers, component makers, developers, and most of all, consumers." , Engadget
A word on naming
"Can you please tell me how Google could simultaneously use such a cute sci-fi OS name as Android and on the same day also roll out such a dorky and named-by-committee moniker as the Open Handset Alliance? Was this designed to establish some sort of equilibrium on the cool/uncool naming scale?" , eWeek
Could be better even than the iPhone
"I think Android could be what I initially thought Apple's iPhone might be— a product that slaps some sense into the cell-phone market by catering to the wishes of phone users, not wireless carriers." , The Washington Post
We've gotta say Google, we're pretty disappointed. But we're also believers: Here's betting Google is developing a "Project X" in some secret basement room that will indeed take down the iPhone, if not until 2009.